Parasitology Research

, Volume 112, Issue 11, pp 3859–3863

Fusidic acid is an effective treatment against Toxoplasma gondii and Listeria monocytogenes in vitro, but not in mice

Original Paper


Fusidic acid is a bacteriostatic antibiotic that inhibits the growth of bacteria by preventing the release of translation elongation factor G (EF-G) from the ribosome. The apicomplexan parasite Toxoplasma gondii has an orthologue of bacterial EF-G that can complement bacteria and is necessary for parasite virulence. Fusidic acid has been shown to be effective in tissue culture against the related pathogen Plasmodium falciparum, and current drug treatments against T. gondii are limited. We therefore investigated the therapeutic value of fusidic acid for T. gondii and found that the drug was effective in tissue culture, but not in a mouse model of infection. To determine whether this trend would occur in another intracellular pathogen that elicits a T helper 1-type immune response, we tested the efficacy of fusidic acid for the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. Similar to its effects on T. gondii, fusidic acid inhibits the growth of L. monocytogenes in vitro, but not in mice. These findings highlight the necessity of in vivo follow-up studies to validate in vitro drug investigations.

Supplementary material

436_2013_3574_Fig4_ESM.jpg (137 kb)
Fig. S1

Fusidic acid treatment does not prevent weight loss after T. gondii infection. Percent weight change of T. gondii-infected animals treated with SDZ/TMP (red), fusidic acid (blue), or saline (black). A representative of three independent experiments with three to six mice per group per experiment is shown, and each data point is the mean ± standard deviation. (JPEG 137 kb)

436_2013_3574_MOESM1_ESM.eps (789 kb)
High-resolution image (EPS 788 kb)
436_2013_3574_Fig5_ESM.jpg (348 kb)
Fig. S2

Host cytokine responses do not differ between fusidic acid- and saline-treated mice infected with T. gondii. Serum cytokines were measured at day 5 post-T. gondii infection by CBA for mice treated with SDZ/TMP (red), fusidic acid (blue), or saline (black). A representative of three independent experiments with three to six mice per group per experiment is shown, and each data point is the mean ± standard deviation. There was no statistically significant difference between the serum cytokines levels for mice treated with fusidic acid versus saline, but for mice treated with SDZ/TMP versus saline, TNF-α, IFN-γ, MCP-1, and IL-6 levels were significantly different (p = 0.01, p < 0.0001, p < 0.0001, and p = 0.03, respectively). (JPEG 347 kb)

436_2013_3574_MOESM2_ESM.eps (1.1 mb)
High-resolution image (EPS 1,153 kb)


  1. Bellahsene A, Forsgren A (1980) Effect of fusidic acid on the immune response in mice. Infect Immun 29(3):873–878PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Black FT, Wildfang IL, Borgbjerg K (1985) Activity of fusidic acid against Plasmodium falciparum in vitro. Lancet 1(8428):578–579PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Collignon P, Turnidge J (1999) Fusidic acid in vitro activity. Int J Antimicrob Agents 12(Suppl 2):S45–S58PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Denkers EY, Gazzinelli RT (1998) Regulation and function of T-cell-mediated immunity during Toxoplasma gondii infection. Clin Microbiol Rev 11(4):569–588PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Findon G, Miller TE, Rowe LC (1991) Pharmacokinetics of fusidic acid in laboratory animals. Lab Anim Sci 41(5):462–465PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Kinoshita T, Kawano G, Tanaka N (1968) Association of fusidic acid sensitivity with G factor in a protein-synthesizing system. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 33(5):769–773PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Kraus CN, Burnstead BW (2011) The safety record of fusidic acid in non-US markets: a focus on skin infections. Clin Infect Dis 52(Suppl 7):S527–S537. doi:10.1093/cid/cir168 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Montoya JG, Liesenfeld O (2004) Toxoplasmosis. Lancet 363(9425):1965–1976. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(04)16412-X PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Nicoletti F, Zaccone P, Di Marco R, Magro G, Grasso S, Morrone S, Santoni A, Tempera G, Meroni PL, Bendtzen K (1995) Effects of sodium fusidate in animal models of insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus and septic shock. Immunology 85(4):645–650PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Osaili TM, Al-Nabulsi AA, Taha MH, Al-Holy MA, Alaboudi AR, Al-Rousan WM, Shaker RR (2012) Occurrence and antimicrobial susceptibility of Listeria monocytogenes isolated from brined white cheese in Jordan. J Food Sci 77(9):M528–M532. doi:10.1111/j.1750-3841.2012.02877.x PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Payne TM, Payne AJ, Knoll LJ (2011) A Toxoplasma gondii mutant highlights the importance of translational regulation in the apicoplast during animal infection. Mol Microbiol 82(5):1204–1216. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2958.2011.07879.x PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Rowe L, Findon G, Miller TE (1992) An experimental evaluation of the pharmacokinetics of fusidic acid in peritoneal dialysis. J Med Microbiol 36(2):71–77PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Tobin CM, Knoll LJ (2012) A patatin-like protein protects Toxoplasma gondii from degradation in a nitric oxide-dependent manner. Infect Immun 80(1):55–61. doi:10.1128/IAI.05543-11 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Troxler R, von Graevenitz A, Funke G, Wiedemann B, Stock I (2000) Natural antibiotic susceptibility of Listeria species: L. grayi, L. innocua, L. ivanovii, L. monocytogenes, L. seeligeri and L. welshimeri strains. Clin Microbiol Infect 6(10):525–535PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Turnidge J (1999) Fusidic acid pharmacology, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics. Int J Antimicrob Agents 12(Suppl 2):S23–S34PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amanda J. Payne
    • 1
  • Lori M. Neal
    • 1
  • Laura J. Knoll
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Medical Microbiology and ImmunologyUniversity of Wisconsin–MadisonMadisonUSA

Personalised recommendations